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Re: Separate trusted computing designs

From: Marcus Brinkmann
Subject: Re: Separate trusted computing designs
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2006 01:24:26 +0200
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I will make this short because you have indicated that you are not
interested in more discussions on these topics, and I don't want to
impose it, and furthermore I do not have much to add to the issues you
are interested in discussing.  I will find other, more appropriate
venues to raise my concerns to your group and the public in general in
the near future.

However, let me clarify one issue and respond to your direct questions
at least.

At Thu, 31 Aug 2006 20:06:46 +0200,
Christian Stüble <address@hidden> wrote:
> You are not consistent here. What is the difference between "possess" 
> and "own"?

I admit I was inconsistent.  The reason is that I was confused about
the ownership and possession of the computer hardware on the one hand,
and the secret key on the TPM on the other hand.  As I do not believe
in ownership of information, the secret key on the TPM can not be
owned in my opinion.  However, if you do believe in ownership, or
proprietarization, the key can be owned, and then it is very clear
that the user does not own it (whoever it is, it is not the user).

Anyway, whatever view one holds on the issue of proprietarization of
information, it doesn't change the facts (information doesn't care
what one believes about it) and the consequences to be expected
(society doesn't care what one believes about how it is working,
either).  Foregoing the ownership discussion actually makes my
argument easier and much more consistent, so I am grateful for having
that eliminated.  I am sorry for the confusion.

> Okey, this statement shows again that you assume a very uncommon
> definition of "ownership". You have a knife, but you are not allowed to
> kill people with it. Now, you are not the owner of the knife any more?

Killing other people certainly invades the ownership of other people,
so that is the sphere of contracts, and not the sphere of private

> > However, it is useful for the sake of discussion to simplify away some
> > of the more remote public rights to make more clear where the major
> > parts of control come from.  
> But for now in my opinion your definition of ownership does not make sense at 
> all, because it cannot be applied in practice. Why do you require full 
> ownership of a PC then?

Actually, that is a misunderstanding which I may have caused by
simplifying the discussion too early.  The point is of course not that
you do not retain exclusive control, but the degree to which you lose
control by adoption of TPM technology.  It's a differential argument,
not an absolute one.  In the rush I probably got it wrong, but that is
moot now as I do not believe in it anymore anyway.

Nevertheless, the question stands with slight adoption, so let me give
you the short answer: Because I like to express my personality and
free will through my computer.  It's the same reason I want to have
full control over my diary, my pyjamas, and any other personal item.

> the license. In practice, there are more concrete examples: You get your 
> printer, tooth-brush, shaver, etc for free, but you have to pay whenever
> you use it (buying ink, brushes, razor blade, ...) But in real life, you can 
> decide whether you accept this business model when you sign the contract. If 
> enough customers do not accept this business model, another vendor will 
> provide other business models. This is real life. Why shouldn't this happen 
> in virtual life, too?

What you describe is not even true in the real world, not on the
surface, and certainly not under analysis.  It can happen the way you
describe, but it can also happen that the will of the customers is
forcefully repressed, often with government complicity, as happened
many times in the past, early and recent, and well documented in history.

> Before I start another discussion here. Do you already have a definition
> what a free choice is? And please ensure that real life can provide such free 
> choices.

I have a definition, but I do not know if you will find it useful.
It's the best I can come up with, and it works surprisingly well in
practice.  Here it comes:

 A free choice is one that can be made independent of any other

In practice, every second of our life can only be spent once, so this
can never be true.  However, as technically inclined people, we will
find it easy to abstract away from such trivial border cases, and only
consider "atoms of choices" in an appropriately chosen "universe of
choices" that brings attention to the issues at hand.

I welcome better definitions.  However, I have never heard of a
meaningful definition which turns what is obviously a requirement into
a free choice.


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